Soybeans are nourishing in all their stages of development, from sprouts, to tofu, to dried beans for soup.
* Of the beans, soybeans tend to contain the most complete protein, but a mixed diet, including dairy, nuts, seeds or cereals, at the same meal, is a good idea.
* The anti-cancer activity of soybeans make them most valuable. They offer protection against hormone-linked cancers – breast, ovarian, and cervical – due to phytoestrogen chemicals, or isoflavones.
* Soybeans are invaluable in the vegetarian diet.
* Soybeans are of benefit to diabetics and those who have a family history of gallstones.
* Their anti-oxidant content protects against free-radical damage. which can lead to heart and circulatory disease, as well as cancer. There is ample evidence that eating less meat and more soybeans reduces the risk of stomach cancer, lowers cholesterol and heart disease.
* Soybeans are considered a food allergen and may cause indigestion or headaches in some cases.
* The Japanese eat small amounts of soy with rice as their staple energy source, along with many vegetables, including kelp (seaweed), because it is believed that soy may contain certain substances that reduce the function of the thyroid gland. Seaweed is rich in iodine, which stimulates the thyroid.
* Bean sprouts are often thought of as “future foods”. Inside the bean are all the nutrients needed to trigger and feed the next generation of beans. When sprouted, an enormously enhanced package of nutrients is waiting to be used.
Soy beans sprout easily in something as simple as a wide-mouthed jar. They can be planted at any time, left to sprout on a window sill, harvested and consumed with the assurance that no preservatives, processing, or pesticides have been involved.
In less than a week your soybeans will be ready for their first harvest; take them only when you are ready to use them in a salad or stir-fry; there is no need to wash or cook.
This is a quick description of sprouting soybeans, and I suggest you research just a bit for details, but this is essentially all you do; there are no tricks involved.
SOYBEANS AS BEANS
* Soybeans are available, sometimes fresh in the produce department, always frozen. They are a tasty snack, shelled or not. They also may be steamed a bit and served as a side dish with butter.
* Cooked, dried soybeans may be mixed with other cooked beans, as baked beans, to take advantage of their nutrients, and add flavor to the soy beans.
* Roasted and seasoned, they are a mild, crunchy snack.
BEAN CURD PRODUCTS
* Bean curd is often presented in meat-like products such as: Sausage, soy-chicken sausage, burgers, ground beef for use in other dishes (during the “mad-cow disease” scare, sales of these products sky-rocketed).
* A thick, dark, highly nutritious paste of fermented soybeans, rice, and barley. It is very often used for soup served at breakfast in Japan.
* Soy milk is readily available plain with a neutral, slightly nutty taste, and in flavors.
This is a recipe for a savory hot soy milk that is especially nice for lunch, although it is a breakfast specialty in the small food shops in the Yung Ho district of Taipei.
2 cups plain soy milk
1 tsp cider vinegar
1 tsp dried shrimp
1 Tbsp finely shredded dried pork
1/4 cup small croutons or bread cubes
2 scallions, finely chopped
1 tsp coriander, finely chopped
1/4 tsp Chile oil, or to taste
In a saucepan, heat soy milk and vinegar until boiling. Pour into bowls, add remaining ingredients, drizzling Chile oil on top. Serve with a spoon, or crusty country bread broken in chunks for dipping.
* Produced from soy milk; these two products are excellent substitutes when there is a lactose intolerance.
* Soybean Curd – made from coagulated soy milk. Tofu is highly absorbent and takes on the flavor of ingredients with which it is cooked.
* On the other hand, smoked tofu can be eaten directly from the package like smoked cheese.
This is simply an introduction to soy and its properties. I hope it will open a door to new flavors and enjoyments.